Executive Director’s Message

From the Executive Director features news and reflections on the work of PHMC by its chief administrator.

Since the Pennsylvania His­torical and Museum Commis­sion is an agency of state gov­ernment, it might surprise many readers to know the extent to which the agency’s many programs and projects are supported by enthusiastic volunteers and charitable con­tributions. In a survey of asso­ciate groups’ support during 1984, it was determined that these volunteer organizations contributed a total of $1,649,786.59 in cash and ser­vices to the Commission. This figure, which reflects only one aspect of broad private sector support for the PHMC, equals approximately fifteen percent of the total allocation provided by the General Assembly of Pennsylvania.

Recent data indicates that, during 1984, the twenty-four associate groups assisting the Commission counted a combined membership of 9,576 interested individuals. These responsible citizens gave 99,399 hours of volunteer help in hundreds of capacities at our historic sites and mu­seums. Translated into a meaningful statistic, the volun­teer hours were the equivalent of fifty-one additional full-time employees.

In addition to offering much-needed volunteer ser­vices, our corps of loyal volun­teers provided the Commis­sion with $842,305 in addi­tional cash income, as well as $310,484 in grants from foun­dations and government pro­grams. At the close of last year, the associates had nearly one-half million dollars in other grant requests still pending. The associates pro­vided the PHMC staff with funding to undertake many objectives that could not be accomplished simply with state allocations.

Among the many contribu­tions made to the agency were the sponsorships of special activities and programs – fairs, seminars, festivals, confer­ences and conventions, out­door dramas, tours and mili­tary reenactments – which could not possibly have been executed by our staff alone. Last year more than 90,000 persons participated in activi­ties and events sponsored by associate groups throughout Pennsylvania. Without this level of activity and excite­ment, it would be simply impossible for the PHMC to present the hundreds of pro­grams and features that help the Commission in “making sure our past has a future.”

It is most gratifying to know that the total amount of support contributed by volun­teers and volunteer organiza­tions in 1984 had increased by more than twenty-nine percent over the previous year-and by a stunning forty-eight percent over 1982. With the creation of the new Friends of the Penn­sylvania Historical and Museum Commission, I believe 1985 will be an even greater year for the growth of citizen volunteer support for Pennsylvania’s public his­tory programs.

The survey figures are impressive. The data confirms that public history programs in Pennsylvania are increasingly becoming a bona fide reflec­tion of both public and private sector concern and participa­tion. Volunteer involvement in Pennsylvania has not been called on to replace govern­ment support but, rather, it has been used to enhance and improve the Commission’s many and diverse public ser­vices. We are grateful to every one of our tireless volunteers and to our associate groups for their unselfish contributions of time, energy, talent, leader­ship and money to help sup­port and share our treasured legacies in this most historic of lands.

Larry E. Tise
Executive Director